On August 19, 2021, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (Board) published emergency rules (Emergency Rules) relating to the legalization of sports betting. The Emergency Rules went into effect on August 23 and will be in effect for a maximum of 180 days. During this period, officials are expected to take public comment and approve permanent rules. The Emergency Rules address various topics, such as employee and vendor permit requirements, duties of licensees and operators, internal control standards, and the prohibition of betting in the nine parishes that voted against the legislation of sports betting. The full Emergency Rules can be reviewed on the Board’s website.
As we reported previously, the Board is authorized to issue up to 20 sportsbook operator licenses. These licenses will initially be made available to (i) Harrah’s New Orleans, the state’s sole land-based casino; (ii) the state’s fifteen licensed riverboat casinos; and (iii) the state’s four racinos (provided they first obtain approval from the Louisiana State Racing Commission). If one or more of these organizations do not pursue a license, the application process will be opened up to the state’s licensed video poker establishments and fantasy sports contest operators. Additionally, the Louisiana Lottery Corporation (Lottery) will receive a sportsbook operator license.
Each licensee may contract with up to two sports wagering platform providers to run its mobile sports betting operations. Furthermore, the Lottery will have the ability to contract with one sports wagering platform provider for mobile sports betting. Thus, the state could have up to 41 different mobile sports betting options.
While the Emergency Rules do not specify an official launch date for sports betting, they do allow sportsbook operator license applications to be submitted and reviewed immediately. According to Ronnie Johns, newly appointed head of the Louisiana Gaming Board, passage of the Emergency Rules has increased officials’ confidence that the launch will occur during the 2021 NFL season.
We will continue to monitor Louisiana’s licensing process and the publishing of its official regulations. We will provide updates on any significant developments.